Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom

ABC Developing Show Based on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Roller Coaster

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom

Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion are two attractions that have already been made into movies and there are other ideas in various stages of conception for the Walt Disney Studios including a movie based on the Magic Kingdom park concept itself. We can now add a TV show to that list as ABC has ordered a script for a show based on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster attraction.

Set in a mining town in the American southwest, the backstory for the ride involves gold mining and a curse by Native Americans that brings disaster on those who try to remove it from the ground, usually in the form of an earthquake. Guests on the roller coaster just barely escape. Whether that idea makes it into the script remains to be scene.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland was also the scene of one of the park’s biggest tragedies with an accident that resulted in the death of a guest and the serious injury of others.

The adventure based drama could air as soon as next fall if the pilot gets made and if it gets picked up.

Below the jump, my onride POV video of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster:

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Opens for Test After Rehab


The Magic Kingdom’s popular western themed roller coaster reopened today after a months long rehabilitation process. The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad had extensive work done to its track, show scenes, primary queue, and lighting.

Where the queue was a tightly formed switchback that was seldom fully utilized, the new queue is better themed but shorter. It still has switchbacks, but the queue is wider and there are added show scenes. Also new to the queue is air conditioning. The new wider queue seems to be a conscious decision to accommodate American’s new wider body shapes.

I’m a little concerned about some of the new railings in the queue, they seem designed to cause welts on the heads of young children at the right height. Additionally, there are random boxes in the queue that have already become defacto benches. Without fastpass a full length queue was a wait of less than 30 minutes. Adding in Fastpass and the standby queue could be very long.

In the ride itself, many safety rails, paths, and lights have been added. The new LED safety lights really stood out as we rode, but I’m sure that over time they’ll fade into the background like other safety features. With the exception of some lighting a good attempt was made to theme the added safety features. Most show elements got a general makeover and many effects that haven’t worked in a long time are now functioning fine, even the geyser in the exit queue:

Big Thunder is supposed to return to regular operation on Monday and is not guaranteed to be open between now and then.